The Malta Independent 26 May 2019, Sunday

Migration: Malta tells Italy to revise statistics, refrain from repeating unfounded claims

Thursday, 10 January 2019, 08:59 Last update: about 6 months ago

Malta has defended itself against claims made by Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, inviting the Italian government to “revise its statistics and refrain from repeating unfounded claims”.

The government was reacting on response to Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini’s claim regarding the alleged unfulfilled voluntary reallocation pledges by EU member states. In a statement, the government said that several days prior to this most recent case which saw 49 migrants stranded at sea for 19 days before an agreement was reached, Malta had coordinated the first example of intra-EU voluntary reallocation from the Lifeline vessel.

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From the Lifeline, Italy had pledged to take 50 migrants from Malta.

When this second case occurred, and Italy requested support for a voluntary intra-EU reallocation of these migrants, Malta was the first nation to respond by pledging to take from Italy the same amount it had earlier pledged to take from Malta in the Lifeline case.

After several requests from Malta, when the Italian and Maltese experts eventually got together to decide the modalities to fulfil these pledges it was agreed that since both countries had agreed to take the same amount from each other and since these migrants are human beings who had already suffered a difficult crossing and rescue, that rather than have them undergo another voyage to another state, each country would retain 50 and thus fulfil its pledges by cancelling each other’s pledge.  Therefore, Malta retained the 50 from the Lifeline that should have been transferred to Italy and Italy retained 50 from the Pozzallo case that should have been transferred to Malta.

“The Government of Malta expresses disdain and surprise at the inaccurate allegations by Minister Salvini,” the statement said.

Malta also reminds that DG Home, who was coordinating the modalities of these voluntary reallocation initiatives, considers both Malta and Italy to have fulfilled their pledges to each other.

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